Dec. 5: A Catie Curtis Christmas

8 pm @ UUCA
4444 Arlington Blvd.
Free Concert!
Food or cash donations welcomed
to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center
(no tickets required/ RSVP optional)

For five years in a row singer/songwriter Catie Curtis has performed at the White House for the holidays, and now she is sharing that live show with a wider audience. "For me the holidays are not just about the sacred or the santa - December is about the feeling of love and possibility." Catie recorded a CD called "A Catie Curtis Christmas" featuring the songs from those White House performances. Catie's holiday shows also feature her most requested self-penned songs from her previous 13 CDs. Elana Arian, who accompanies Catie at the White House and on the CD, will be providing fiddle and vocals in Arlington VA on Dec 5th! 

Catie Curtis is a veteran on the singer/songwriter folk scene, crisscrossing the US for 20 years  and counting  performing shows, recording and releasing 13 CDs, with devoted fans following her every move. She's performed at the White House several times, at two Presidential Inaugural Balls, with Lilith Fair, and at Carnegie Hall. The winner of more than her share of Boston Music Awards, she also took the Grand Prize in the 2006 International Songwriting Competition (out of 15,000 entries). Catie recorded a duet with Kris Kristofferson for his CD "The Austin Sessions" and there's a good chance you've heard a song of hers in a movie or on a TV show. The New Yorker called Catie a "folk-rock goddess."

Since 2012, Catie has been the producer of Voices United Concerts, organized to raise awareness and funds for Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU). AU is a crucially important bi-partisan non-profit that lobbies, litigates and educates to protect against religious extremism  an issue Catie unequivocally supports. Voices United shows have presented a diverse lineup of performers with such greats as Sarah Silverman, Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams, Louis Black, Kate Clinton, John Gorka, Roy Zimmerman and Melissa Ferrick, to name just a few. The first season, in 2012, presented 75 house concerts (one in every state) over one weekend, and plans are now well underway for the 2015 Voices United Concert schedule.

When Maine-native Catie Curtis is not writing, recording, touring or producing concerts, she also officiates and performs at fans' weddings (having received her ordination online in 2011), teaches at song schools around the country, leads high school songwriting workshops, speaks on diversity, and runs a songwriter retreat in Maine every summer called "Catie at the Cove."

Catie's 13th album, Flying Dream (2014), continues her songwriting signature of being deep and soulful, telling honest and universal truths of the experience of living. Flying Dream is a start-to-finish collaboration with Sugarland co-founder and modern folk songwriting luminary Kristen Hall. After being introduced by Mary Gauthier, says Curtis, "We discovered that we were very compatible in writing together. After we had a couple songs under our belts, we both wanted to keep going and Kristin wanted to produce the album."

Curtis came to the creation of this album with a desire to articulate "some really universal experiences." "What's eerie," she says, "is how much the songs ended up being true to my life." It's no accident that the album is bookended by songs that deal with choosing to not withdraw from life, but rather savor the simple, sensual and sacred surprises it brings.
"My goal is not just to reflect my own personal life, but to reflect back to people what happens in life, in their lives, in our world," she says. "As we all know, sh#t happens." Wise words from a truly intrepid songwriter.

Nov. 29: Jeff Campbell & Joe Marson

7:30 pm @ Bikenetic
201 West Jefferson St., Falls Church
(BIKENETIC is moving!)

Jeff Campbell’s onstage experiences have taken him to coast to coast countless times and found him sharing stages with John Mayer, members of Counting Crows, The Grateful Dead, and opening for Train. After being crowned winner of Guitar Center's National Singer Songwriter Competition out of over 13,000 entrants,  his 2013 EP Release, “In Spite of Everything”, produced by 6x Grammy Winner John Shanks, premiered at #1 on the iTunes rock EPs and singles charts, following a performance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show.

Watch him strap an acoustic guitar on his back, board a public bus with 75 strangers, and traipse his way across the country. Here’s a singer-songwriter who loves nothing more than the sound of his voice reverberating off a music venue’s back walls. Yes, this is Jeff Campbell’s life, and as he’ll readily tell you, it isn’t so much a choice as it’s his calling. “This is just who I am” says the vocalist, impassioned songwriter and lifelong musician who with The Kitchen Sink, has at long last concocted the album that represents him at his core and is willing to do whatever it takes to feel the rush of human connection. 

For Campbell, it’s all in the spirit of connectivity: eliminate as many barriers as possible between the writer and the audience. Sure, he knows he could record hundreds of videos on YouTube and pray one goes viral, but that’s not him. Even as his fanbase continues to swell, Campbell craves intimacy and immediacy. “Performing live is absolutely my favorite part of this thing.” Campbell says. “Whether it’s a big stage or a small room, there’s really no better feeling than connecting the music with the audience. When you know they’re with you, it’s the best ever.”

Joe Marson is a Brooklyn transplant whose music resonates in the realm of alternative folk-rock, with a defiant bluesy edge. Marson delivers full-bodied, soulful ballads charged with slow thumping percussion, powerfully swelling harmonies and fervent, evocative lyricism.

A wanderer, Marson spent a good six years traveling the nation prior to settling in NY’s best borough. That epoch gives marked spark to his songwriting. “I was soul searching and trying to find who I was, as a person as well as musically,” Marson told Best New Bands, “I wanted to dip my toes in different experiences and genres before writing about them.”

“The best musicians have real life experiences and real wisdom,” he continued, “I needed to come from that place in order to feel authentic to myself. I’ve seen the lowest of lows that I can image and some pretty high highs. I write from those experiences.”

Of his writing process, Marson added, “It’s sort of a mystery to me, still. Sometimes the lyrics come slow, sometimes it’s like squeezing blood from a rock.” Yet, as evidenced by the way this musician has lived, Marson’s work is built on intuition. His candidness lends discernible heart to his work, a trait most apparent in his live performances. His most recent video, for “Goddamit Julia,” displays this quality expertly. Wearing his heart on his sleeve like a badge of honor, Marson’s willingness to embrace exposure is a nod to accepting and sharing what makes us human.

Oct. 25: Barnaby Bright w/ Victoria Vox

7:30 PM (doors at 7:00 PM)
Bikenetic, 922 West Broad St.
Falls Church, VA

Since the release of their first album, 'Wake the Hero' in 2009, Barnaby Bright has garnered high accolades for their songwriting and sound. Grand prize winners of the NY Song Circle competition, Barnaby Bright's music has also been featured on national television to soundtrack heavy moments on shows such as 'ER' and 'Days of our Lives.' Their follow up EP 'Gravity' was named one of the top 100 records of the year by, keeping good company with the likes of Adele and Bon Iver. They continue touring in support of their most recent full length record, "The Longest Day," gracing such notable venues as Lincoln Center and NPR's "Mountain Stage" in West Virgina, and sharing stages with the likes of the Lumineers and Norah Jones. After moving to Nashville in spring of 2014, they began work on their most recent full-length album with producer Cason Cooley (Ingrid Michaelson, Sixpence None the Richer, Matt Kearney), which is set to release early 2015.

Nathan and Rebecca Bliss, the voices and the brains behind Barnaby Bright, are truly the modern day traveling troubadours, averaging roughly 200 shows and 40,000 miles traveled a year. You can find them on streets as far away as London or Amsterdam, and as remote as St. Paris, Ohio, toting their massive haul of instruments…multiple guitars, harmonium, banjo, ukulele, floorboard bass, thumb pianos and keyboards. Because of the great number of shows they've played in their world travels, as well as their unique instrumentation, powerful harmonies and thought-provoking, connective lyrics, this duo has mastered the original goal they set out to attain: to create a sacred, magical space for their audiences…a momentary escape from the outside world. Their songs deal with a diverse range of subjects as relatable as longing and love, and as dark as death and revenge. The resulting emotional journey Barnaby Bright takes you on during one of their shows is one you will never forget. Drawing inspiration from literature, human behavior, experiences shared with the fascinating people they've encountered on the road, as well as a hint of fantasy, Barnaby Bright is a classic vision of timeless indie folk rock in all its glory.

Nothing about the journey of this married duo has been accidental or without purpose...even the band name itself holds a myriad of meaning for them. The phrase "Barnaby Bright" is a medieval term for the summer solstice. In 17th century England, the longest day of the year was celebrated with a large festival to honor St. Barnabus, and all joined together in merry recitation of the limerick, "Barnaby Bright, Barnaby Bright, the longest day, the shortest night." Nathan and Becky were instantly drawn to the name not only for its historical context, but also because of the many metaphors it represented to them: light and dark, good and evil, and the idea that though this innate, dualistic struggle is present in all of us, on the longest day of the year, light prevails over dark...goodness wins.

This dichotomy of the human condition is represented time and again not only in their songs, but in themselves. With over a decade between them, and drastically different childhoods and life experiences, Nathan and Becky find in each other so much of what the other is lacking, both musically and personally. They have discovered that their vastly different backgrounds give them each a unique approach to the world, and to songwriting. Perhaps that is why listeners find such depth and range of emotions in the songs of Barnaby Bright.

Victoria Vox wrote her first song at 10 years old, inspired by the sounds coming out of the car radio on trips into town from the country home where she grew up in rural Wisconsin. Vox taught herself to sing and play guitar, after concert band practice, secretly saving herself from the reputation as a band-geek. At 17, Vox spent a year abroad in France, bought a guitar, and pursued to express herself through her songwriting.

Vox went on to study music' songwriting in particular' at the Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA) where she earned her degree in 2001. Shortly after stints in Nashville and London, Vox moved back in with her mom and began to tour across the US, singing at cafés and street-corners.

In 2003, Vox was given a ukulele and she fell in love with it's limitations and simplicity. This lead to a more playful and melodic approach to her songwriting. As she continued to tour, ukulele-in-hand, the demand for a ukulele album grew. Vox recorded her debut uke album, 'Victoria Vox and Her Jumping Flea', in 2005 and toured Hawaii just before it's official release in 2006. While in Hawaii, she landed an 'ukulele sponsorship with KoAloha Ukuleles, which became the the tipping point to her becoming a household name at Ukulele Festivals around the world.

Vox is an award winning songwriter ' including for songs she has written in French' (Independent Music Awards, 6-time WAMMIE winner, International Acoustic Music Awards, ADDYS, and has also donated songs to causes like the American Asbergers Association and the Duchenne Foundation. Her music has been used in indie films and featured on NPR's "To the Best of Our Knowledge".

Vox's infectious pop-folk-jazz style has earned her fans who truly appreciate her art. She has fan-funded several albums and a songwriting project, where Vox hunkered down in 2012 to write a song a week for the year. The '52 Original Song Project' was preceded in 2011 with a YouTube '52 Cover Song Project' where she learned and memorized 52 cover songs.

In addition to her songwriting and ukulele playing, Vox has received praise for her 'invisible' instrument: The Mouth Trumpet. She was invited to blow her own horn on the Jay Leno Show in 2009 and in 2015, Vox was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal as a leader in the mouth trumpet 'revival' and performed live on air on KMOX's Charlie Brennan show. She employs her mouth trumpet during musical breaks at her live shows and also includes it on her studio recordings, along with the real trumpet (which she also plays).

Vox new resides in Baltimore, MD and continues to tour to Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and across the U.S. Her 9th album, "When the Night Unravels" was released in January 2015.